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There is no wealth on a dead planet
Global Climate Strike 2019 – New York City – USA
Photo Credit: Common Dreams


On Friday, September 20, 2019, millions of young people and supporting adults in more than 150 countries took part in the Global Climate Strike, calling on decision-makers to take immediate action to address our global climate crisis. I’m heartened that sixteen-year-old, Swedish environmentalist activist, Greta Thunberg, has awakened our youth to the future that awaits them.

“It’s just not the young people’s house,” Thunberg told the thousands of participants gathered in New York City. “We all live here. It affects all of us. Why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us? That is being stolen for profit? Some people say we should study to become climate scientists or politicians, so that we can, in the future, solve the climate crisis. But by then, it will be too late. We need to do this now.” (Emphasis mine.)

Three days later, at the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, in his opening remarks, reminded the global decision-makers present:

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win. This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit.” (Emphasis mine.)

Three demonstrators standing under gallows on blocks of ice – Berlin – Germany
Tom Weller / DPA / PA Images
Photo Credit: Common Dreams


His remarks did little to stir the adults present to action. After pulling out of the Paris Agreement, the United States had nothing to say. China made no new promises. By the end of the day, according to the Closing Press Release, 65 countries and the State of California committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Another 70 countries announced plans to boost their national action plans by 2020.

Net zero by 2050. That’s a thirty-year transition period. Sounds like more slow action to me.

In their analysis of “Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot days,” published in July 2019, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows that in a “slow action” scenario, global warming is projected to attain an average warming of 4.3℉ (2.4℃) by 2100. We have dragged our feet for so long that we should now be in emergency mode.


By their actions, our global elite show no desire to change a system that works for them. Their wealth affords them protection from the effects of extreme heat, drought, flooding, hunger, homelessness, infectious disease, and much more. They don’t care about us, the 99 Percent. We are as disposable as plastic straws and outdated electronic gadgets.

If we are to save ourselves as a species, we need a different narrative to transform our societies. Our Green New Deal presents such a change of narrative. Extinction Rebellion expands on this narrative. In their Vision Statement, they call for “a new world of love, respect and regeneration, where we have restored the intricate web of all life…” They add: We rise in the name of truth and withdraw our consent for ecocide, oppression and patriarchy. We rise up for a world where power is shared for regeneration, repair and reconciliation. We rise for love in its ultimate wisdom. Our vision stretches beyond our own lifespan, to a horizon dedicated to future generations and the restoration of our planet’s integrity.

I share their vision. I see no other way forward. Do you?